Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Treatments Offer Relief for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

One persons experience with CTS treatment ...

"We use our hands and wrists for almost everything we do, but sometimes the way we use them can cause a painful problem called carpal tunnel syndrome. 13's Linda Russell explains how the problem develops and what medical experts can do to correct it.

For Donna Martin, the problem came on sudden and severe. "I got numbness in my fingers, and then what took me to the doctor was the horrible pain that kept me awake," Donna says.

The doctor told donna she had carpal tunnel syndrome, a condition where the median nerve in the wrist is compressed, causing the pain Donna felt. "A sharp, aching pain," she describes.

Occupational therapist Cynthia Munoz-Johnson says anyone from an office worker like Donna to a construction worker could develop carpal tunnel. "Typically, patients are involved in activities that require prolonged or repetitive gripping or pinching or bending of their wrist."

One treatment for carpal tunnel is called iontophoresis. It involves a patch with anti-inflammatory medication and an electrical current to send the medicine to just the right spot.

Cynthia also taught Donna some exercises she can do every day.
"The one you can use really easily is bending your fingers and making a fist and you can do it and nobody notices," Donna says. "The muscles in the forearm are overworked and fatigued, so doing the exercises can strengthen them so they can tolerate doing the activities they need to do," explains Cynthia.

And one more thing- Donna wears a splint to bed that keeps her wrist from bending as she sleeps, so the nerve isn't compressed.

"It's a lifestyle change. Once they learn the exercises and ergonomics, it's something they have to continue to engage in the activities that caused it in the first place," Cynthia says.

So Donna has changed the way she works and the way she sleeps,
but change is good when it takes away the pain.

If a patient's carpal tunnel isn't treated early, it could cause nerve damage severe enough to require surgery."    (Continued via WIBW)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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